Summer 2009 Retreat

Summer 2009 Retreat

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mythical Norms - Natalie Johnson

It is difficult for me to list the characteristics that make up this "mythical norm." I guess factors such as race, age, gender, the clothing one wears, and a person's actions are all part of what make up stereotypes. It's weird for me to think about stereotypes because honestly I wonder where how they originated and where they came from. Was it our basic human nature that makes us want to categorize things- including people- that put this idea into our mind that because a majority of a group acts in a certain way, every member of that group must act that way? I"m not really sure. But it is an interesting thing to ponder.

I think that someone who didn't know me would say that I fit into the "typical white girl" stereotype pretty well. I come from an upper middle class family and have lived a comfortable life in terms of always having the essentials and being able to do extracurricular activities and things like that. I live in a suburb, have an older sister and two younger step sisters, and 2 dogs. If someone who didn't know me had to categorize me and say whether or not I fit your average white girl stereotype, I think they would definitely say yes. I'm not going to lie, this still bothers me. I wish it didn't, and I think in time it won't anymore, but it does. Yes, I was born into a family with the means to provide me with everything that I needed and most things that I wanted. I did not choose this. It was what I was born into. It doesn't mean I'm some spoiled brat who doesn't appreciate what I have though, and recognize that I am extremely fortunate. I have felt attacked at times, whether directly or indirectly through passive aggressiveness and what have you, by people who fit into different stereotypes than me. And honestly, I think that everyone in the world can fit into a stereotype, because there are SO MANY it's ridiculous. And that's exactly what stereotypes are- ridiculous. I think we should all make it a point to make a conscious effort to abolish the stereotypes we encounter each day in our lives. And that's what it must be- a CONSCIOUS effort- because I think that stereotypes are so engraved into our minds without us even realizing it (for a lot us, that is).

Something else that bothers me is being put into the stereotype of the typical "sorority girl." I know a lot of you will probably read this and laugh. But I hope that one day you will be able to get over this stereotype. People laugh at sororities because of many different reason: "you're paying for friends," "you're all a bunch of idiots who just want to do each other's makeup and have pillow fights," the things I've heard on this list go onnnn and on. But while you judge me for being in a sorority, just remember that you don't know what it's like to be in a sorority. I don't pay for friends- I pay dues for the upkeep of the house and the chapter. I have literally met my best friends in my sorority, people who have changed me for the better and have affected my life permanently. While you may judge me for being in a sorority and spending money on things you may think are stupid (but you really just don't understand), just remember that I find it silly that someone would spend thousands of dollars "pimping out their car"- but then I check myself and realize "hey, it's their money, and it's how they want to spend it. It doesn't affect me at all- why am I even thinking about this person?" You really can't judge anyone until you've taken a walk in their shoes and truly know them, and while people look at me and see all of the privileges that I have (and that I am aware of!), just take a step back before being bitter towards me and give me the chance that I am giving you. I try my best to give everyone a fair chance in life without judgement, and I only ask for the same from everyone else.

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